ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota House is turning down a big pay hike for legislators. Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt says House lawmakers won’t get that raise — even though voters approved it.
Minnesota voters overwhelming approved a constitutional amendment letting an outside group set lawmaker pay. The salary council gave the legislature a $14,000 raise, but House Republicans are saying no.
“Do we accept and fund a pay raise of this size for legislators when we don’t have the ability to give pay raises to all middle class Minnesotans?” Speaker Daudt said.
Minnesota’s part-time lawmakers earn $31,140 a year. They’re getting a 45 percent raise in July to $45,000. Even though House Republicans just say “no,” Republicans in the Senate say there’s nothing they can do — the pay hike is in Minnesota’s Constitution.
“That’s what the Constitution directs,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said. “I don’t know how you can possibly get around that, even if you say ‘I’m not going to accept it,’ I believe that when July comes around, the courts will say ‘You must do this,’ because that’s what the Constitution says.”
House leaders say they won’t approve any pay hike funding, for lawmakers of either party. Leaving open the possibility that the pay hike voters approved could end up in court.
The Legislative Salary Council will vote Friday to finalize the pay hike.